Monday, June 29, 2009

My animal friends

Yes, my blog can be a little boring. I understand. I can't take photos of myself riding, so a lot of my pics are of the in between.

The dogs are up to their usual:

Our new boarder arrives on Friday afternoon and I'm excited.

Java has been amazing about being home alone, and I've gotten spoiled having to take care of only one horse.

BUT... she will appreciate the company of another equine. I took these short video clips while keeping her company in the top paddock so that she could roll and play. They were doing something with a big machine beeping next door so she had an excuse to get excited. Java and I are pretty codependent, and as you can see, she likes to be near me, thank goodness I know her well enough to let her get this close while goofing off. When she is not playing in the top paddock, she is grazing everywhere but the top paddock.

Java rolling while I stand guard protecting her from... nothing. But she felt more comfortable with me there so that she could indulge.

Java looking around for something to react to and then coming over to me.

Java just getting ramped up and the camera memory became full. I try, I really do. Hopefully I'll get less boring posts in the future.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

java me me me

You know, aside from the sun rarely shining, it's been a nice start to Summer. Not a typical fly to be found, some gnats, some mosquitoes (interesting, mosquitoes like potatoes, did not know it had an oes at the end... you learn something new everyday), and lots and lots of grass.

Java started her morning up top:

Then she decided that she would like me to keep her company and asked that I join her (staring at me and nickering). However, I have other things to do (usually) and could not hang out up top with her. Hey, Java and I are very close and since she has been so good here alone as we wait for the right horses to join us, that I actually will keep her company sometimes. But, today, she decided that if I was not going to hang out in the paddock with her, she would run. Run like a wild beast and make big trenches in the corner for Mr. Java's Mom to give me flack about later. She is such a show off. I let her run and blow off a little steam while I prepped the stall for Sunny's arrival next week.

Then Java got to go out into her favorite paddock. This paddock has the shortest grass though because she likes it so much. But, how can I resist, I love my girl. We are going for a marathon trail ride later today as she seems to have some spunk to her today. If I'm good, I'll remember to bring the camera.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

here comes the sun...

The sun came out yesterday and the blue sky appeared. It was wonderful.

Java is living the life...

Java and I even fit a nice trail ride in. Then, just as the day ended and I was bringing Java in from her final lawn mowing because it was dinner time for all of us, a pleasant summer rain came down. What a nice day. Yeah, I'm leaving out parts about crazy boarder inquires and the general stresses of life...

Monday, June 22, 2009

the usual

You have not missed much here lately:

Rain, rain and more rain.
Our new boarder will be here in about a week.

Java is perfect.

Grass is growing, trees are growing loving the rain.

Mr. Java's Mom is almost finished building the composting station.

She's out right now, in blustery wind. Tree branches in the top field flying, she is safe and sound in the paddock by the barn. Then it started to rain, I rushed to the paddock gate figuring that the princess would definitely want to come in. Nope.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

we have a winner

My dear blog world friends... we have a winner: a new boarder. I think they are going to be a great fit. There are a couple more boarder options out there, but one at a time...

Her horse is not here yet (will come at the end of the month). Her horse Sunny (has a full name, but we'll call him that for now) is 3, well mannered, calm and sounds great. He and Java are going to try to go out together when they are ready. Java would love to have a turnout buddy! Although, I do wonder, this home alone stuff is fascinating. She is the most relaxed, happy and wonderful that I have ever known her and it's amazing to me that it is while she is here home alone. I am astonished, and down right psyched that she's so happy.

And, I've been riding more lately. Java and I of course love this. So, I asked Mr. Java's Mom to take some pictures, or video. He took this photo...

He took a photo of his fabulous composting station that is in the process of being built. WOW, Mr. Java's Mom, that's nice. Thank you for making the best, sturdiest manure into dirt no flies station ever. It's actually a pretty cool set up, but that will become a blog post all on it's own.

And the video... well, he got me coming up to the jump, and after, but not actually going over, and a lot of the ground. Then the camera battery died. Practice makes perfect, so we'll keep at it and eventually post some photos of horse and rider.

Plus, my superstar brother is in the Army 101st Airborne Demonstration team and they jumped in CT. This is a rarity since they are usually jumping into Nascar events or football games, but I got to see my brother jump and hang out with the team.

My brother insisted that I bring the dogs, Bandy was up for the trip. Mackie stayed home with Mr. Java's Mom who had to be on-call for work (not on the farm, at his job).

My Mom and Bandy at the event. My brother has done over 951 jumps, but we are nervous anyway. I do wish that I had recorded my mother's commentary as Max (my bro) was in the sky, it would have been very funny, she was pretty nervous:

Then, somehow I take only blurry photos for the rest of the day, greeeaaaattt.

They landed, Bandy watched, thought it was cool, and I caught this face (not blurry, how odd)

Then the 101st Airborne team came over to Mom's and hung out, ate, and played wiffle ball in the rain. Their base is in Kentucky, so they were happy that it was not humid. I loved the whole thing, the jump, chatting with my brother and his teammates, etc.

I look at this lawn and think... yep, Java would like it here.

And, it's still raining here daily... sometimes the sun comes out and it seems like the whole region stops for a second... is that the... sun? YES, ah, that is so nice... then the sun gets taken over by clouds and it starts raining again. And, it's still in the 50's. I have on a turtleneck a fleece vest and a fleece jacket right now. That's OK.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bandy: Our Bearded Collie

I was thinking about Bandy and that her odd story might be worth outlining. We got Bandy in November of 08. Only 7 months ago, but I feel like she has been ours for much longer.

As a kid, we had Bearded Collies. Bearded Collies are Scottish herding dogs. I love Bearded Collies, and they love to run and jump.

As a kid, what is better then spending all day at the barn, then to come home and spend time with your dog that likes to be a horse! Of course I would set up jumps, make courses with jumps in the woods, the works. The best dog for this job was my as-as-kid beardie Molly Brown, a Ha' Penny (breeding line) Bearded Collie.

I searched for breeders in the area. CT used to be the largest Bearded Collie area, and as the breeders got older, they moved to FLA, and now FLA has the largest Bearded Collie Association (not exactly convenient). SO, (in 2007) I'm driving around with Mom one day and we see three Bearded Collies. I stop the car and knock on the door of the house. Finally someone answers (the dogs are outside with electric collars on) and I ask her where she got her Beardies. They are Ha' Penny Beardies (the SAME line as my childhood beardie Molly Brown!), and she does not know where to get any in the area. BUT, she for some reason, confesses right then and there that she actually does not want 3 dogs (small lot under a quarter of an acre, not enough time) and would love to find a home for one or some of them... someday. But not yet.

I'm thinking, yeah right, give away your beardies, funny. thanks anyway. Life goes on, we get married, build the barn, Mackie is our boy and... how about a Beardie to top it all off? All we needed next was a Beardie to herd Mackie in and jump stone walls with me.

I haunted breeders with inquiries, no puppies available, and when they are, I consider the drive from FLA with a puppy, but the expense and the puppy and ugh.

One entire year passes since I knocked on that stranger's door, and the phone rings. She wants me to take Bandy and Blaze (brother and sister) and she will keep their mother, Sofie. After a lot of thinking, we say, OK, sure, we'll take them. They have a visit with Mackie to see how they all got along. They were trimmed back, poodle style, this is Bandy (left) and Blaze (right) on one of their visits with Mackie's huge head in the way (what a chunker).

They are 3 years old at this point. We decide to go for it, and take them. She drops them off and pulls out quickly, it was very emotional for her. Blaze is pretty much timid and wondering what the heck just happened. Bandy is "hey,whatever man, this place looks cool, if I'm a really good girl, will you promise to love me no matter what I do (eat yucky things, pull ALL the zippers off your fleece vests and jackets, swim unsupervised, and..?).

SO, the same day, after several walks on the leash, we take them into the top paddock and let them loose. For some reason they respect the fence, at this point they think it is electric (remember they used to wear electric fence collars). They play, run, and think this is pretty cool. Mr. Java's Mom and I think it's cool too, but also freezing cold, it happens to be in the teens and we want to go inside and get warm.

Mackie is looking at these two fuzzy dogs "hey guys, let's go in and get warm and fed, uh guys...?". Bandy and Blaze now think they are in trouble for some reason. Their other mom loved them very much, but these guys always felt guilty for something. Bandy decided "screw this (yes, she talks like this!), I'm going under the fence and waiting at the back door, I'll risk electrocution with this fence and do what these people want and get back to the house pronto". Bandy is fast to do what you want, and makes her own interpretations some times.

Blaze is "OH MY GOD, I am so confused, I must run run run". Blaze is gorgeous, and can run, his stride must have been 10 feet, huge gorgeous stride, but enough already, let's go in. Bandy is more... Shetland pony. Two hours go by, Blaze is terrified, and thank goodness not going under the fence and staying contained. By now we are STILL in the top field, Bandy is with me, snuggling, and mackie is inside getting warm. Blaze will not stop running. I call his other mom, "you have to come over, we cannot get Blaze on the leash or back into the house, he is beyond distraught". Distraught like when/if you have ever seen a lost dog running along the road, lost and frantic. His mom shows up, and he jumps on her and hugs her like a child with his legs wrapped around her looking into her eyes "don't leave me".

Well, we say, he cannot stay. We like Blaze and think he is a wonderful dog, but he clearly is very attached to his mom and don't want to risk him running away forever either into the woods or in the road the one day we try him off the leash again. She asks with a healthy tone of hope, if we can keep Bandy? At this point Bandy has it all figured out and says: "LATER Blaze, I know a good thing when I see it and I'm never leaving this place, unless it's in the car with Mackie to go to the store". The former mom did not really like Bandy. She was trouble at her old house (perhaps she is not forgiving when zippers get pulled off clothing), and for a long time Bandy was afraid of getting in trouble with us. She learned that animals in our house can pretty much do no wrong, and we love and spoil them no matter what.

So Bandy decided that Mackie is awesome, and teamed up fast with her new friend:

She enjoyed being allowed off the leash and getting to know her new territory:

We let her coat grow out:

She always checks the herd to make sure everyone is safe:

She loves sticks:

Video of Bandy with Stick, bursting with pride of her bounty:

And, Mackie and Bandy are good buddies. Mackie has also lost his chunker weight with all the running around with Bandy. She has the full run of the territory as she wishes, and is fabulous. She is a total tom boy. She will steal his toys to get his attention, guards the herd while Mackie is off sniffing something and will hang out in the car for hours with him. We love our little Bandy. Funny thing is, she does not really jump... yet. If she gets going, she'll spring over a low stone wall, but I have yet to get her going full athletic Beardie style. I'll get there... :)

The koi pond is her latest theme park on the property. Here she is in hot pursuit of Mackie as he rushes to get out of the pond with his retrieving thing before Bandy can attempt to steal it away.

With all this farm life, Bandy's coat is not exactly... show ready. I groom her occasionally, cut mats out and keep my finger crossed that she does not find any burrs. She has a summer trim right now, I trimmed her chest and belly short for a little air conditioning. We'll see how the summer goes. With all of this rain and cool weather, she is just fine, damp and has a major case of the frizzies, but WOW is she happy. Mackie adores her too. They drink out of the water bowl together, snuggle, share and play play play. Bandy has relaxed so much since coming to live with us, it's great to see her really be the little shetland pony that she has always wanted to be. I call her former mom occasionally and leave voicemails of how much we love Bandy and to thank her. I don't hear back, but that's OK. Oh, and Bandy's name: her former mom named the puppies based on their markings (Blaze because of his face blaze, and Bandit because she had raccoon like circles around her eyes), well, Bandit became Bandy... and here we are.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Semi-boring post. The dogs are even bored by it.

It is still raining.

The end result of all the water that washed across to the neighbors driveway/house and down the street is OK. The builder neighbor went across the street with one of his machines and re-graded the downhill neighbor's driveway for her. Everyone is happy for now. Ducks were swimming in our little pond that was created from the downpour, but that's OK. The dogs and Java are wondering where the sun went. Java is getting a lot of hand grazing mixed in with turnout. She is keeping the lawn around the house pretty tame.

She did unfortunately step on one of the dog's toys during a little hand grazing session, it squeaked, she JUMPED (on it twice by mistake while trying to figure out what the heck it was) and made new entertaining hoof prints in the lawn, but Mr. Java's Mom (the groundskeeper) did not mind. I feel like the poor girl is bored, so Java and I are at least getting in a lot of riding lately (carefully planned so far between rain showers). We have picked a spot for the ring. Rain or shine, I'll take some photos of the area. It is near the gazebo and with all of this rain, it's been dry (non horse people are NOT going to understand this term 'dry', but I don't think it's worth explaining). We have been riding in that area to see what we think. Java and I think it's perfect. Java seems to be in decent shape, I am SO out of shape, legs are way weak. Arms are fine, mucking has helped with that.

Still raining... This is a funny story. My mother asked me if the dogs have a hearing problem (seriously) because they seem to ignore me a lot, especially when I am on the phone with her. I told her that their hearing was fine... she wondered how I could test it. I replied to her with. "how do I know the dogs can hear? because they look at me on cue from 100 feet away after I call their names, then they turn back in the opposite direction and run into the pond to go swimming". I was too far away to take her picture at the time of this "hearing test" but a photo of Bandy swimming, even if the photo is from a couple of days ago, is always fun.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

just the weather

It's raining... which is good. The new trees have wonderful new growth, and the more it rains, the more know what I'm talking about. The area that we had cleared has been prepped and seeded (thank you Mr. Java's Mom). The rain is great for that too! Java is safe and sound inside her barn. We have a few options for new boarders... I hope to make a decision soon. I'll make up for the lack of pictures with plenty later today or tomorrow.

Addition: It's pouring. The neighbor who cleared his lot next door has the DOT and a state trooper there watching the river that has been created from the runoff from his lot go across the street. He has been saving this enormous pile of top soil for... spreading back out... when he feels like it, and it's eroding away with the pouring rain, going across the street and down the road. It's like... huge... the poor neighbors across the street are getting a lot of water and top soil, their lawns are ponds and hopefully their basements aren't ponds too!! We get a bunch of his runoff on our property too. Which I want to be infuriated about, but won't let myself. I'm hoping one of the neighbors wigs out on him for their underwater property and that will take care of it all. It's amazing the difference in runoff from when it was a wooded lot next door, to a cleared lot. Fascinating actually. Unfortunately, our newly planted grass might be washing away in spots, but that's OK, I bought two bags. I'll just plant more seed. You can't keep a horse owner from growing grass darn it. Persistence always pays off. Oh, the DOT just came back with a big truck, maybe they are going to dump a bunch of gravel in his driveway to slow down the run off...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Famous Java

Java is still living the same life of bliss, the only drama has been a nasty horse fly that got under her fly sheet and bit her several times. She will survive. Yes, I rushed to her rescue, and whisked the fly sheet off as she was thrilled to prove to me yet again that these silly human remedies like a fly sheet are sometimes counterproductive.

The Java Moment yesterday:

Mr. Java's Mom and I had finished our glorious late day grounds maintenance chores, and I was getting ready to go into the house. Java had just eaten dinner (routine is key for the little only-horse-on-the-farm), and she was looking out her window having a vogue cover shoot fashion moment.

This is no stretch of the imagination that Java loves to show off. She has actually been in a photo shoot, and her photo (with the portrait subject, totally not related to me aside from some 6 degrees of separation type thing) on display in a gallery on Park Ave in NYC. I was invited to the exhibition opening, and it was so exciting to hear people comment on the portrait, and I looked a little out of place, I did not have on fur, diamonds and am not a supermodel. That's OK.

Here are the other portraits done for the exhibition:

Here is her big deal shot:

And, here she was, yesterday evening looking for another photo shoot opportunity, but it was only me with the camera and no lighting, or make up, or stylist.

And, then the object that has her attention approaches. It's Mr. Java's Mom on the John Deere 2305. She loves Mr. Java's Mom, seriously, she is incredible around him. Anyway, as the only equine on the property, she has to know everything that is going on, and her ears do double time to keep up on the sights AND sounds as he approaches. Yes, I spend a lot of time home with the animals and think these things are amusing. Yes, I'm OK with that.

By the way, the photo of Java was from 2004. My mom has been bugging me for 5 years to get her a copy... this will open that can of worms. Mom, I swear I'll get to it... some day...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the life of Java

The life of Java... memememe, JAVA.

Well, here is an example of a slice of her busy day. This morning... After a stroll and graze in the top paddock, she did a light workout and then relocated to the lower paddock for this:

Yes, I know this video is boring, that's the point. I think it's funny.

Oh, and the person who came to look at the barn yesterday for her horse was very nice. Her horse cribs though... and needs what seems like a lot of accommodations... but Java is needy, so I feel that I should be fair... but for some reason I'm hesitating. I have to call her today and let her know... hm, thinking...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bliss Mode

Wow, it's like being on vacation! Java is peaceful, relaxed, and doing very well. She will definitely be happy when another horse and eventually two horses join us, but she is tolerating her only-equine-on-the-property situation well. Extremely well.

She gets her choice of paddocks, hand grazing around the house, super extra extra attention, and we are riding too. As I look out the window now, she is in the paddock resting, enjoying a beautiful day, not a fly to be found (no fly mask today, yay!), sunshine and a light breeze, totally relaxed. Next door has been quiet for about a week as they are working on projects that apparently are not noisy. Wow, I love it here.

Over the weekend:

Java in the top paddock:

Java looking at the new neighbor's big new shed. Looks like a giant run in shed to us. Java and I like it. He is using it to store vehicles and it will eventually have a door.

With the whole place to herself, Java sometimes dines outside. Mackie cleans up any bits of grain.

Bandy says "I can't see real well, is that Mackie in the paddock, or did we get a mini?"

And, we had some trees cleared last week:

And, Mr. Java's mom is prepping the newly cleared property. We are making another grass paddock.

Java grazing, again. This one-horse deal is at least good for the grass in the paddocks, they are getting some rest!

I have had 4 stall inquires so far. One person needs three stalls and a less expensive place (I'm $475 to $525 depending on the needs of the owner/horse), one person wants a different part of the state, one person has not replied to my reply e-mail (HELLO), and one person is coming to visit tomorrow. Not bad for a little less than a week.
In the mean time, Java and I are totally enjoying our vacation.